Today, I spent some quality time with a mentor of mine. The catch here is that this guy may not know that he is my mentor, but then again, maybe he does. We haven’t really had that exact conversation, though he does listen to me, talk with me, and make suggestions, which I follow as best I can. We don’t talk often, we don’t see each other in person very often, but when we do, words are not wasted. Today, I received instruction, as well as several confirmations that I am on a good path, in order to get where I want to go.
Many people shun the idea of mentorship, as they see no need for one. Men can be especially “anti-mentor” because we don’t want to show a weakness, and needing the help of a mentor might indicate that we need help, that we are weak and cannot do it on our own. I have been in this state of mind before, so I understand it pretty well. “I don’t need anybody to show me anything!” has been my mind-set on more than one occasion, but thank goodness that I have now learned better. It dawned on me one day that if you really want something that you don’t have, then you obviously do not know how to get it! Asking for help when you need it is a sign of strength and intelligence.
My mentors haven’t always been personal relationships. As a gifted musician who plays by ear, I have always been able to listen to music, and then copy what I hear. So many unknowing musicians have mentored me to some extent or another. In this day and age, I can go on Google and ask pretty much anything, and quickly get a land-slide of answers on anything from cooking recipe’s, to getting a kayak lesson. In my Spiritual studies, you could say that there are almost too many teachers with books and programs out there now. So information of all kinds is readily available to us all now, but for me, there are situations that require a one on one actual physical relationship with a personal mentor. Why? Here are some reasons why you should consider a mentor:
1) A mentor will help you be accountable. Today, I shared my intentions and goals, and my strategy with my mentor, and if I bail out or don’t follow through, he will know. He cannot punish me, he cannot fine me, and he would never look down on me for any reason, but you see, I know that he knows. I respect my mentor, I value his time, and he didn’t waste it today, talking to me. I will follow his suggestions, and take everything he said to heart. So he won’t actually hold me accountable, but having a mentor helps me to hold myself accountable.
2) You can get experience and wisdom from a book, or a Youtube video, but there is nothing like the real thing, live and in person. Today, I was in the presence of someone who already does what I want to do. He is already where I want to be. You want to put yourself around people who have what you want. They know what you don’t know; how to get it!
3) A teacher or an author is speaking to the multitudes, while a mentor is speaking directly to you. Yes, we are in general, the same. We may be a part of a group of people who want instruction on one particular subject, but having a mentor personalizes the teachings. In a one on one, the mentor is talking to you. He/she may suggest an entirely different approach to someone else. Books can and have been very helpful to me, but with some things, I need a personalized approach.
4) People have natural talents, but to go beyond that requires a mentor or teacher. When we go to a show or a concert, or see someone performing, it may be a musician, singer, actor, or a comedian, or even a minister, the good one’s do two things: they have a teacher and they practice a lot. In other words, when you watch an HBO hour special of Chris Rock, he isn’t just coming up with this stuff off the top of his head. It is a routine, and it is well rehearsed, and tried out many times already. If you want to be the best, this is what it takes.